Now that more doses of Covid-19 vaccines are available, the NHS is able to open more vaccination services, including the first Vaccination Centres. People who are eligible and who live near these new vaccination services will receive letters from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, telling them how they can book their appointment.
The NHS is rolling out additional services quickly, but it remains important that the public don’t try to book or go to these services before they receive their booking letter. And when you do book an appointment, please make sure you attend.
You may receive a letter from the national NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service inviting you to book an appointment at a regional Vaccination Centre. If you receive the letter from the national service and can travel to the Vaccination Centre safely, we recommend that you book using the details the letter provides. If you are unable or don’t want to go to a Vaccination Centre, you can choose to wait and get your vaccination at the local GP centre for vaccination.
We have started vaccinating patients over the age of 80 years of age and are inviting people in according to the criteria and prioritisation set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), and will contact you when it’s your turn.
Like the rest of the NHS we are working to offer vaccines to everyone in the top priority groups by the middle of February. Please do not contact us if you haven’t received an invite yet. We are very busy at the moment and doing so could prevent a patient who needs our help from getting through. We will contact you when it is the right time for you to book your appointment.
Below are some frequently asked questions which may help you further.
Q: Which members of the public are being offered the Covid-19 vaccine at the moment?
The NHS is currently in the process of offering the vaccine to people aged 80 and over, those who live or work in care home, and frontline health and social care staff. When everyone in these groups has had the chance to get their first dose of the vaccine the programme will expand to other people that are at risk either due to their age group or medical condition in line with the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations.
Q: What are the different ways members of the public might be contacted to get their vaccination?
1. Local hospital services – you might be contacted either to have the vaccine as an inpatient or at an outpatient appointment.
2. Local GP services – practices in your area are working together to contact and offer the vaccine to as many people as possible. This may be at a different surgery than you usually go to, or at a venue we have set up specially to deliver vaccines.
3. Through your care home – GPs and their teams are also arranging to vaccinate care home residents directly, in their homes.
4. A letter from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service to book online or by phone. Booking through this service will give you the option of having the vaccine at a special Vaccination Centre, or potentially a community pharmacy depending on whether these are available locally.
Q: I’ve already had my first jab, how do I get my second?
If you have had your first jab already through a hospital or GP services, the local NHS will contact you about getting your second. If you have received a letter from the national booking service and you have already had your first dose of the vaccination, please ignore the letter. This service will require you to book appointments for both doses of the vaccination at the same time.
Q: I’ve contacted the national booking service but I can’t travel to one of the locations that are available, what should I do?
More locations will become available in the coming weeks so you could try again later. Alternatively, you can choose to wait until your local GP service invites you for the vaccine. If you are housebound and unable to leave the house to travel to any appointment, and cannot arrange for someone to help you, your local NHS services will be in contact with you.
Q: I have received a letter but I have already booked or attended an appointment at a local GP service. What should I do?
If you already have a vaccination booked through your GP please ignore the letter – there is nothing you need to do.
Q: I have the letter but don’t understand how I book my appointment?
If you have received a letter from the national booking centre inviting you to book your Covid-19 vaccination you can do this online or on the phone using the details on the first page of the letter. You will need your name, date of birth and NHS number to book. At the time of booking you will be asked to book your first vaccination and your follow up vaccination for 11 to 12 weeks’ time.
Q: I have received a letter about booking my appointment. Can I contact my GP to do this?
No, please do not contact your GP surgery. We cannot help you to book into the Vaccination Centre. Please use the details in the letter to book your appointment directly.
Q: I have received invites to get vaccinated from both a local GP service and the national system, but haven’t booked with either yet. Can I choose where to go?
Q: Will people who have had their vaccination through a hospital, GP or care home still receive a letter to book through nhs.uk or by ringing 119?
This may happen in a small number of cases. If people have had their first vaccination through a hospital or GP service, of if they are in a care home, this information will flow through to the national NHS system. If this is recorded on the national system before the national booking letter is printed then it will flag not to send that person the national booking letter. There are likely to be cases where the letter is printed to be sent and then person subsequently has their vaccination recorded and therefore is sent the national booking letter. The booking letter explains this and says that if people have already had their first dose to not book through nhs.uk or 119.
Q: My neighbours / friends have received a letter from the national vaccination centre to book their jab. Why haven’t I received mine?
The NHS is inviting people for vaccinations based on expert advice on who would benefit most. This has been set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). At the moment we are focusing on people aged 80 and over, people who live or work in care homes, and health and social care staff. If you are in one of these groups you will be invited to book your vaccine soon. A vaccination programme of this size and scale will still take some time to roll out in full. Please be assured that everyone who needs the vaccine will be offered it. The NHS will be in touch with you when it is your turn to be vaccinated. Please don’t call us before you are invited.
Q: What will the opening hours of vaccination centres be?
Standard opening times for vaccination centres will be 8am – 8pm, seven days a week.
Q: What are the operating hours of the telephone booking system?
The telephone booking service will be open 16 hours a day (from 7am until 11pm), seven days a week. People will also be able to book online 24/7.
Q: What if I can’t get to the Vaccination Centre?
People who are housebound will be contacted by their GP services about alternative ways to get vaccinated. People can also wait until more locations closer to where they live become available. The NHS will follow up with people that haven’t booked their appointment, as a reminder.
Q: What staff and volunteers will be working in Vaccination Centres?
The centres will be staffed by vaccinators and clinical supervisors, as well as administrative staff and stewards to ensure the effective and safe operation of the service. These will largely be new and existing paid NHS staff, but volunteers – including from St John Ambulance or the NHS Volunteer Responder programme – will also play an important role.
Q: Are Vaccination Centres safe?
Yes. Staff at these sites will wear appropriate PPE and there will be social distancing and cleaning measures in place to keep everyone safe.
Q: I’ve received a letter but someone I live who is the same age hasn’t yet. Can we get vaccinated together?
The NHS is inviting eligible people in a phased basis as supplies of the vaccine allow. It is important that you wait for your letter from the NHS, and you will not be able to book without one. If you have received a letter and live with someone who is also eligible but has not received a letter, it is likely that theirs will follow shortly. If you like you can wait and book at the same time.
Q: What should people do if they can’t get through to the phone line straight away?
At times, due to high demand, the phone line will get very busy, which may mean waiting on the line for a while or calling back later. You can alternatively book online. If you need help to do this, please ask someone in your support bubble.
Q: Does this service work for people who don’t understand English well or are deaf?
The phone line will have interpreters and a BSL facility available on request to help you book your appointments.